Alexandra Patsavas Rockville, CA Interview

Alexandra Patsavas
Photo credit: Elizabeth Thorp/Warner Bros. Television Group.

You know her work.  She’s the one responsible for Death Cab for Cutie’s rise to fame on The OC.  She’s the reason we all worship Tegan and Sara for their “Where Does the Good Go” from the Grey’s series premiere.  She is, for all intents and purposes, the most consistently awesome part of some of the shows we love, including Chuck and Gossip Girl.  Her name is Alexandra Patsavas and I got to talk to her about her most recent adventure, a web series she’s executive producing with another familiar name, Josh Schwartz.  Rockville, CA is a show about a local indie music club.  Starring relative newcomers (aside from the fabulous Ryan Hansen who we all know and love), the 20 webisode series features a different live musical act that Alex handpicked.  

Read on to hear about how it all happened, why Rockville, CA, and what the state of indie rock is these days (hint, it’s not as “elitist” as it used to be) –

TakeFiveGal : I’m very excited about Rockville, CA.  Looking at the list of the 20 bands that are involved, it’s literally like a shuffle on my iPod.

Alexandra Patsavas : That’s very cool.  It was supposed to feel very consistent with the booking policy of any good club.

They’re not bands that have huge followings, but at the same time, they’re bands that have this perfect little underground following.

They’re up and comers, as well as people who have been at it for awhile.

How did this show come together?

Josh wrote a pilot about a record company.  It was one of the first pilots he wrote, so he’s always had a really keen interest in the music business.  He spends a lot of his free time listening to music, seeing live bands, so when he invited me to be a part of Rockville, I couldn’t imagine a more fun and rewarding project.  It is for  The .com gave us a lot of freedom to stretch a little bit and focusing on making the club feel authentic.

What is a typical day like for you as a music supervisor?

For this particular show, it was a bit different for me, as a producer first, and also because, in most instances, the music that I select for shows is set behind a dramatic visual and once in a great while, we did a number of on cameras on The OC.  We’re looking forward to No Doubt appearing on Gossip Girl.  The most of the work is an audio track paired with a visual.  In this case, it was important that because the live performances were going to be so important, we made sure that the live show by each of the bands was compelling as well as the songs.

What I noticed, and what I notice a lot in the songs you’ve chosen for other shows, in Rockville, the music doesn’t overpower the scene, and the lyrics or what’s happening in the song definitely contributes in a really great way.

Oh that’s nice!  That’s the goal.  It’s the goal to comment on the action without telling the audience how to feel or think.

Is it a lot of times that you find a song that you like and hope that you can apply it, or you have this scene and you find the music that you think will fit?

We sort of stockpile music.  As a company, we get so much music sent every day to the office.  We definitely think about putting songs aside, and then we definitely pitch for certain scenes.

You mentioned Josh and music.  And knowing him, talking to him, he definitely has an ear for music, too.

Oh definitely.  He’s interested in the ever changing music business.  Is that a good way to put it? [laughs]  Ever changing.  But the live music culture is definitely stronger than ever.  Kids are collecting live experiences and clubs are busy.

It’s a lot easier to get to a concert than it was even 10 years ago.  There’s a lot of the underground music scene.

The independent music scene is very healthy.

I call you my music guru, and everybody laughs, but seriously, the stuff you’ve been involved in, and I think that’s the way that everyone views it, to a different sound, or different people, and I have a whole new music collection because of it.

That’s nice!  When I was in college, my first job was booking a small indie rock club which is, so I’ve returned sort of, years later.  It was always really important to me that we focused on interesting musicians who perform their own material.  I love a cover song, but more than anything, it’s about artists being artists and not being a mechanical put together project.

Why do you think people are going to get into this, will like Rockville, CA?

I think Josh has a magical way with story and fans will be drawn to the story of this realistic retelling of an indie rock club, which is really just like a home away from home.  You know, kids move to a new city.  Definitely these sort of clubs have a very familial vibe and I think Josh has really captured that with the story, and then hopefully, people will be interested in checking out new music.  And checking out actual live performances of their music.

Do you have a favorite band currently?

Oh gosh!  Well, The White Lies, who are performing on Rockville, definitely.  I also love this band called Say Hi.

I’ve heard through the years, with indie rock, people are almost afraid to let others know of their favorite band out of like a fear of sharing?  Has that changed?

You’re sort of asking if there’s an elitism to indie rock? [laughs]

In a way, and not a negative way!

I think there’s a cached exclusivity.  I also believe that I’m excited that we’re supporting interesting music.  Those are the bands that I want to see succeed and want to see get a paycheck.  So I definitely understand the impetus to keep it secret, but I also feel like we should certainly be counting the talent, rather than hiding it.

What else is happening for you besides Rockville, CA?

Well, I’m working on Gossip Girl, and Chuck.  I will be starting the Twilight soundtrack for New Moon.

I love the first soundtrack.  It’s just great.  PS You have my dream job!

It’s definitely fun!


Rockville, CA Premieres March 17, 2009, on